Bissett Nursery Corporation
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: John Carioti
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
The Bissett family has been a leader in the landscape and nursery industry for more than 50 years. Located in Long Island, New York, Bissett Nursery Corporation began in the backyard of James Bissett Jr.. Over time with the help of his wife, Joan, Bissett Nursery has grown into one of the largest wholesale horticultural distribution centers on the East Coast.
Current president of the company, Bob Pospischil, joined the company in 1988. A Marine fighter pilot for 14 years, Pospischil was originally hired due to his background in finance. “I was brought in to help set up budgets and an accounting computer system,” recounts Pospischil. “I had met with the original owner before and he had stated that if he ever got out of the business, they would love for me to step in.”
Bissett Nursery currently works with Tishman Speyer, one of the largest real estate developers in the state of New York. “We supply all of their green goods,” says Pospischil. “All their plantings such as flowers, shrubs and mulch. Everything they need to finish the outside of their projects.”
Pospischil credits the great working relationship to Bissett’s ability to supply such large amounts of materials and go to great lengths to locate a specific product if it is not easily obtainable. “We have access to all products in our industry in the United States,” says Pospischil. “We’ll go out and find it on their behalf and then deliver it, so it saves them the time and effort of shopping around for it.”
Bissett Nursery has also become involved in water management with a new product line called Porous Pave. A highly permeable material, Porous Pave allows large amounts of water to pass through into the ground while still providing a hard surface. “It looks like asphalt, but it’s actually made out of recycled rubber,” notes Pospischil. “A lot of developers are installing it in parking lots, around trees and in walkways.”
“We’re also helping to develop bioswales,” says Pospischil. Bioswales are landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. “We supply the plant material and everything else. As the water goes in it becomes filtered and by the time it hits the ground the water is clean again,” he says.
Water management has become an aspect of the company Pospischil has really grown to enjoy. “There’s a direct cause-and-effect there,” says Pospischil. “Every time we get involved with it, not only do we supply the different materials, but we actually work with the landscape architects to develop the technology and be part of the developmental portion of it.”
He says there has also been a high demand for water management in the state of New York. “They have a big push on it right now as they try to figure out what to do with all the nitrogen in the water.”
When he isn’t running Bissett Nursery, 66-year-old Pospischil can be seen running in multiple road races every year, most of which are fundraisers for charities in which he is involved. He is on the board of two charities, including Contracts for Kids, which helps families who are in financial distress due to the illness of a child. “If a child has cancer and the family can’t pay their bills, we’ll come in and raise money for them,” Pospischil explains. “We end up paying for a lot of things that the insurance companies won’t cover. We’ll also fly families to hospitals to be with their child.”
Pospischil is a member of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, a non-profit organization that operates the New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program. “We’re the only program in the state that goes out and finds sick seals, dolphins, turtles, etcetera and rehabilitates them and then sets them free.” A self-proclaimed “high altitude mountaineer,” Pospischil has also climbed the highest peak of each of the seven continents.
Pospischil attributes the success of Bissett Nursery to its integrity and dedication to customer service “We’re a one-stop-shop for everything,” states Pospischil. “We’re not salespeople, we’re problem solvers.” He says that the employees at Bissett are the lifeblood of the organization. “If you look at any great company, it’s always due to the people. Our average employee is here for 17 years.” During the peak season, the company has about 150 employees.
While Bissett Nursery Corporation is in the process of expanding, Pospischil plans for the company to venture into other aspects of the industry such as e-commerce. He also expresses excitement about the company continuing to evolve with water management and the development of bioswales.
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